Friday, August 01, 2008

Man Skills I

Dep't of Aaaargh: Here all week long I've been complimenting the folks at Google, and then they turn around and do this. Apparently you can view my blog, but I can't add any more posts to it until the owned-by-Google Blogger folks determine I'm not a spammer. Hopefully it will be back soon, mirroring the post with extra goodies thrown in here and there and on the weekends to reward those who take the time to look.

In fact, I have a picture to post there to go along with today's item. Seems that Tania Ledger, from South London, grew tired of her plain, ordinary lawn. So she hired Chris Naylor - a "3-D Art Expert" - to cut a replica of the Mona Lisa into it.

And you thought I was kidding.


Part the First (of Three)

Give advice that matters in one sentence - I got run out of a job I liked once, and while it was happening, a guy stopped me in the hall. Smart guy, but prone to saying too much. I braced myself. I didn't want to hear it. I needed a white knight, and I knew it wasn't him. But he just sighed and said, "When nobody has your back, you gotta move your back." Then he walked away. Best advice I ever got. One sentence.

Score a baseball game - Scoring a game is an exercise in ciphering, creating a shorthand of your very own. In this way, it's a private language as much as a record of the game. The only given is the number of the positions and the use of the diamond to express each batter's progress around the bases. I black out the diamond when a run scores. I mark an RBI with a tally mark. Each time you score a game, you pick up on new elements to track: pitch count, balls and strikes, foul balls. It doesn't matter that this information is available on the Internet in real time. Scoring a game is about bearing witness, and expanding your own ability to observe.

Name a book that matters - "The Catcher in the Rye" does not matter. Not really. You gotta read.

Write a letter - So easy. So easily forgotten. A five-paragraph structure works pretty well. Tell why you're writing. Offer details. Ask questions. Give news. Add a specific memory or two. If your handwriting is terrible, type. Always close formally.

Swim three different strokes - The Dog Paddle doesn't count.

Show respect without being a suck-up - Respect the following, in this order: age, experience, record, reputation. But don't mention any of it.

Calculate square footage - Width times length.

Speak a foreign language - Pas beaucoup. Mais faites un effort. (Not a lot. But make an effort.)

Sew a button.

Be loyal - You will fail at it. You already have. A man who does not know loyalty - from both ends - does not know men. Loyalty is not a matter of give-and-take. No, no, no. It is the recognition of a bond, the honoring of a shared history, the reemergence of the vows we make in the tight times. It doesn't mean complete agreement or invisible blood ties. It is a currency of selflessness, given without expectation and capable of the most stellar return.

[Abridged for length and family-friendliness by Mark Raymond from an article by Leif Parsons in Esquire magazine; Part the Second next Friday]


Hmmm. Seems to me most of that is pretty good advice for women, also.

Hey, the GKR of '08 is nearly complete. I will have pictures updated on my website - at least *that's* still up and running - by the middle to the end of next week. Meanwhile, there's more overtime on tap this weekend.

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: Do you get catalogs from advertisers? I know we do. And if we happen to buy something out of one of them, the number of catalogs hitting our mailbox triples in short order. While I love the job security they provide - I am a postal employee, after all - I'm kind of not liking the number of trees that have to give their lives so these glossy pitches for conspicuous consumerism can tease our wallets. So go to and join their organization (it's free), then run down their list of catalogs and check off the ones you're receiving and no longer wish to receive.


Mark's Musings is a Habeas-certified spam free mailer. Please let the people at Blogger know. Subscribe, view past issues in the Archives, and help defray publishing costs at my web site. To contact Mark, click here. If you have an idea for this spot, click the previous link. You can forward or reprint "Mark's Musings" freely but please keep the credits attached. When it comes to the credits, you have only one skill to master: pass 'em on. Original material and commentary © 2008 by Mark Raymond. I update my blog with a copy of this post daily (or whenever they let me), and extra thoughts, the occasional video, and other things that go bump in the night on the weekends. Look for the label that says "Weekend" and you can bring them all up with one click. My personal mission statement is John 3:30. What's yours?


WORDS for YOUR WEEKEND: "To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee." (William H. Walton)


hucknjim said...

Hi Mark,

I was struck by your quote on holding grudges. One of my favorite quotes comes from the wise beyond her years teenage daughter of Rabbi Marc Gellman who writes the syndicated God Squad column. She said, "Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." As I said, wise beyond her years.


Mark said...

That's a great quote. I've seen it in several places and attributed to several people, but none of that takes away from the power of the words and imagery.

For anyone interested, you can find more about Rabbi Gellman's syndicated "God Squad" column here at the Tribune Media Services website.